When a person is in the process of deciding where they’re going to live, they will have a variety of factors to consider. One of these includes whether they will reside in a private or public neighborhood. Inside a private neighborhood one can decide to live in a Condo association or HOA.  

Condo Association and HOAs are both community associations that people reside at. Due to this similarity people often use the two words interchangeably. Nevertheless, they have their fair share of differences. In the article below you will find some of the main characteristics that set them apart.


Condo association

A condominium or Condo Association is a private building with multiple units resided by residents or renters. All of the members have ownership and access over the common areas in the building. A condominium will normally include elevators, swimming pools, gym, roofs, and hallways. All of these common areas need to be managed, so the board will determine how much the residents should pay for each. After buying the unit, the resident has to agree to all of the Covenants, Conditions and Regulations (CC&Rs) and the dues required to be paid. 

A Condo Association will have a group of members from the board who are required to maintain the property and quality of the neighborhood. Since  managing an association is a very arduous and time consuming task, sometimes the board can contract a management company to assist in its various responsibilities.


An HOA is an acronym for Home Owner Association. This community is composed of homes where rules are established about how residents can manage their homes. The association has to manage the common areas for the residents to enjoy them. Each homeowner will have a certain lot that their house will occupy and this usually determines the price one will have to pay for living there.


Since these two terms can be quite similar there are certain characteristics that will help differ both types of associations. Below you will find out the 4 main differences between a Condo Association and an HOA.  


Condo Association

In a Condo Association, a homeowner has ownership over their unit and they share ownership with the association over the common areas available like the lobby, restaurant, court, etc. Every resident in this association is a member and shares what it owns.  


An HOA, on the other hand, is independent or it is owned by the developer of a community. This means that, apart from owning their property and unity, residents don’t own common areas. 

This difference is quite significant since it can impact how certain procedures and policies work as well as determining taxes and insurance, for example.


Condo Association

Since a  Condo Association manages structures with various units included, like a high rise with condo apartments, or a mixed community with townhomes. Often they have lobbies, hallways, roofs, elevators, swimming pools, etc.

A community association manager, as previously mentioned, is a demanding job that requires a variety of skills in order to successfully manage their community.  Time management, adapting to problems and situations, communicating with residents, and digital skills are all some examples of qualities a manager can have in order to increase their chances of being more successful.

Condo inspections are also extremely important when managing your condo association. It ensures that every aspect of your COA is in great condition which reduces security issues and can save costs.

Click this link if you want to know more about condo association management!


An HOA, however, doesn’t manage an individual’s homes, which is why their maintenance is prioritized to the common areas and amenities. For instance, there are often a variety of amenities such as a community garden, meditation area, and a space for recreational activities.

Common areas , which include amenities and shared areas in a community (such as sidewalks), all need maintenance. These can include irrigation, sewage, trash collection, and landscaping.

HOA asset management is also extremely significant to any association. It helps the board know what the HOA owns, making it easier to keep track of everything, makes budgeting more organized, and it helps with planning.


Condo Association

Every year the board of directors plan the annual budget, This includes the expenses that the common areas will require. Unit owners will pay for part of the upkeep through their fees. They may be calculated using the percentage an owner has  of the common area. This means that the bigger the common area owned, the bigger the expenses. Because condo owners will have to pay for professionals who help maintain their units as well as the common areas , their fees tend to be higher than HOA fees.

In short, condo fees are paid monthly, quarterly or annually and will cover the maintenance, common area utilities, inspection, property management company fees, security, and repairs – this cost will be split up amongst all the condo owners.


In HOAs the board of directors determines the amount of fees, enforce rules/guidelines for residents to follow and maintain the HOA. Condo Association fees are usually more expensive because every resident has to pay to maintain the building and unit they’re living in. In an HOA, residents often don’t have to pay as much because the community doesn’t have to pay to maintain each home. Owners are responsible for the maintenance of their lot and home.

HOA fees can be a monthly, quarterly or annual charge that is used to maintain the common areas, facilities, reserve funds, gardening, and workers salaries. Depending on thelocation of the HOA, and how many amenities it has, fees can go as high as over $4,000/month, but they typically range from $100-$400/month.


Condo association

Since everyone in a condo association lives in the same building, architectural guidelines aren’t as strict as the ones in HOA. Instead, they mostly enforce rules regarding noise levels, smoking, and pets.  

A condo association will have governing documents that contain its responsibilities and restrictions. The Declaration, Bylaws, and Condo rules are all included in these governing documents. Other rules that can be addressed include the disposal of trash (where residents will dispose of their garbage), recreational areas (who is or not allowed to enter), vandalism, and parking regulations.


An HOA, on the other hand, is quite strict regarding the architectural guidelines since every person has their own house. The reason for this is because in order to increase property value, everything must be as polished and aesthetically pleasing as possible. So you could have limitations to the type of color your house would be painted, fence height, length of grass, etc. 

You can find these rules in the Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, CC&Rs, and rules and regulations. Other rules the board can impose includes holiday decorations, regulation of signs, and limiting pets. It’s very important to check all HOA’s rules before deciding to live there.

While both HOA and COA provide a closed area for residents to live in, we could see that each one has their own differences. The main one includes that a Condo Association is a group of buildings where residents own common areas. On the other hand HOA’s are a group of houses where, apart from their property/unit, don’t have ownerships over their amenities. 

This causes impacts on how both of them are organized/managed. An HOA has strict guidelines towards the aesthetics of each home, while a COA doesn’t need to (since everyone lives in the same building) and instead enforces on noise levels, pets, smoking, and more. 

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